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Hawaiian Grilled Cheese Sandwiches: A Delicious Twist

Embark on a culinary adventure to the Hawaiian Islands by learning how to make a deliciously tropical Hawaiian grilled cheese sandwich! This unique twist on a classic comfort food will have your taste buds dancing with joy as you combine the flavors of sweet pineapple, savory cheese, and golden, crispy bread. Follow along as we guide you through the necessary ingredients and supplies, preparation, grilling techniques, and more to create the perfect Hawaiian grilled cheese sandwich in your very own kitchen.

Ingredients and supplies

  1. Bread (preferably a hearty variety like sourdough or Hawaiian bread)
  2. Cheese (Hawaiian grilled cheese typically uses cheddar and Monterey Jack, but you can use your favorite cheese or blend)
  3. Sliced pineapple (fresh or canned)
  4. Sliced ham (you can use your preferred type of ham)
  5. Butter or margarine (for spreading on the bread)
  6. Optional: Thinly sliced red onion
  7. Optional: Sliced jalapenos or banana peppers (for a spicy kick)
  8. Optional: Fresh cilantro or parsley (for additional flavor)
  1. Frying pan or griddle (large enough to cook one or multiple sandwiches at once)
  2. Spatula (for flipping the sandwiches)
  3. Cutting board (for slicing ingredients)
  4. Knife (for slicing ingredients)
  5. Plates (for serving the sandwiches)
  6. Paper towels (to absorb excess grease)
  1. Begin by preparing your ingredients: Slice the pineapple into rings or pieces, thinly slice the optional red onion and jalapenos, and grate or slice your cheese.
  2. Lay out the bread slices and evenly distribute the cheese onto half of the slices of bread.
  3. Add a layer of sliced ham over the cheese, followed by pineapple slices, optional red onion, and optional jalapeno or banana pepper slices.
  4. If desired, you can also add a sprinkle of fresh cilantro or parsley for additional flavor.
  5. Top with the remaining slices of bread to form sandwiches.
  6. Preheat your frying pan or griddle over medium heat.
  7. Spread a thin layer of butter or margarine on the outside of each sandwich. Make sure to cover the entire surface of the bread, so it cooks evenly.
  8. Place the sandwiches on the heated frying pan or griddle.
  9. Cook the sandwiches for 3-4 minutes per side, or until the bread reaches a golden brown color and the cheese is melted. You can gently press down on the sandwiches with a spatula to help the cheese melt more quickly.
  10. Use a spatula to carefully flip the sandwiches and continue cooking on the other side for an additional 3-4 minutes.
  11. Once the sandwiches are golden brown and the cheese is melted, remove them from the pan and transfer them to a cutting board.
  12. Allow the sandwiches to cool for a minute or two before slicing them in half, diagonals, or quarters, depending on your preference.
  13. Serve the Hawaiian grilled cheese sandwiches on plates with a side of your favorite chips, pickles, or a simple salad. Enjoy!
A tasty grilled cheese sandwich with melted cheese, ham, pineapple, red onion, jalapenos, and cilantro on hearty bread slices.

Prepping the ingredients


  • Fresh pineapple
  • Deli-sliced ham
  • Sliced cheese (Swiss, provolone, or Gouda)
  • Sliced bread (Hawaiian bread or sourdough)
  • Butter

Prepping the Ingredients:

  1. Pineapple: First, wash the pineapple thoroughly. Lay the pineapple on its side and carefully cut off the top and bottom with a sharp knife. Stand it upright, and cut down along the sides, removing the skin. Once all the skin is removed, lay the pineapple on its side again. Cut the pineapple into thin round slices, about 1/4 inch thick. Remove the core from each slice by cutting around the tough middle part with a knife or using a small cookie cutter. Set aside the pineapple slices.
  2. Ham: If using deli-sliced ham, be sure it is thinly sliced to cook evenly. Select about 3-5 slices of ham per sandwich, depending on the size of your bread and your preferred meat-to-cheese ratio.
  3. Cheese: Choose a cheese that will complement the pineapple and ham, such as Swiss, provolone, or Gouda. Make sure the cheese is sliced so that it melts evenly and fits well on your chosen bread. Plan for about 2-3 slices of cheese per sandwich, depending on the size of your bread.
  4. Bread: Pick a bread that will hold up well during grilling, such as Hawaiian bread or sourdough. Slice the bread into even slices, about 1/2 inch thick, making sure to have two slices per sandwich. You can also use pre-sliced bread if you prefer.
  5. Butter: Soften the butter so that it is easy to spread on the bread slices without tearing them. You will need approximately 1 tablespoon of butter per sandwich to ensure even browning throughout.
A picture of two Hawaiian grilled cheese sandwiches on a plate with melted cheese, ham, and pineapple on top of toasted, golden bread slices.

Sandwich assembly

– Bread (ideally a good quality, thick sliced bread like sourdough or Hawaiian sweet bread)
– Butter (softened)
– Sliced deli ham
– Pineapple slices (fresh or canned, drained and patted dry)
– Sliced Swiss or Provolone cheese
– Thinly sliced red onion (optional)
– Freshly chopped cilantro (optional)Instructions:

1. Preheat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat.

2. Take two slices of bread and spread a thin layer of softened butter on one side of each slice. The buttered side will be the outer part of the sandwich that makes contact with the griddle, giving it a crispy golden-brown finish.

3. On the non-buttered side of one bread slice, layer the ingredients in the following order:
– One slice of Swiss or Provolone cheese
– A layer of sliced deli ham (2-3 slices, depending on size and thickness)
– 1-2 pineapple slices (make sure they are well drained and patted dry to avoid making your sandwich soggy)
– A few thin slices of red onion, if desired
– A sprinkle of freshly chopped cilantro, if desired
– Another slice of Swiss or Provolone cheese

4. Top the sandwich with the second slice of bread, making sure the buttered side is facing out.

5. Carefully transfer the sandwich to the preheated griddle or skillet. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, until the bread is golden-brown and crispy and the cheese is melted. Be sure to flip the sandwich gently to avoid ingredients spilling out.

6. Remove the sandwich from the griddle and allow it to cool for a couple of minutes. This will help the cheese to set slightly, making it less likely to spill out when you cut the sandwich.

7. Use a sharp serrated knife to carefully cut the sandwich in half or into quarters, depending on your preference.

8. Serve immediately and enjoy your delicious Hawaiian grilled cheese sandwich! Consider pairing it with a side salad or a cup of tomato soup for a complete meal.

A sandwich with melted cheese, deli ham, pineapple slices, sliced red onion, and chopped cilantro, all between two slices of bread.

Grilling techniques


  • Bread of your choice (sourdough or Hawaiian-style work great)
  • Sliced cheese (Monterey Jack, Cheddar, Mozzarella, or a blend work well)
  • Sliced ham
  • Fresh pineapple rings, thinly sliced (canned pineapple rings can be substituted)
  • Butter (room temperature)


  • Grill pan or griddle
  • Spatula
  • Basting brush
  • Aluminum foil (optional)


  1. Prepare your ingredients: Lay out your bread slices and generously apply butter to one side of each slice. On the non-buttered side, arrange a layer of cheese, followed by ham, pineapple slices, and a final layer of cheese. Top with another slice of bread, buttered side facing out.
  2. Preheat your grill pan or griddle on medium-low heat. A cooler temperature will allow for even toasting and optimal melting without burning or scorching the bread.
  3. Place the prepared sandwiches onto the grill pan or griddle, buttered side down. To help with even cooking, consider using a spatula to press down lightly on the sandwich for a few seconds. This ensures good contact between bread and grill, enabling that ideal crispy exterior.
  4. Cook the sandwiches for about 3-4 minutes per side, or until they have a beautiful golden brown color. Keep a close eye on their progress, as cooking times can vary depending on the thickness of the bread and other ingredients. If you’re concerned about achieving an evenly cooked exterior and melted interior, consider lowering the heat slightly and increasing cooking time slightly, but pay close attention.
  5. Optional step: To promote a gooey, melted interior while your sandwich grills, consider covering the sandwich with a piece of aluminum foil or an inverted lid. This will trap heat and help the cheese melt more quickly.
  6. Once the first side is grilled to perfection, carefully flip the sandwich using a spatula. Repeat steps 3-5 for the second side until it reaches the same delicious golden-brown color and cheese is fully melted.
  7. Remove your Hawaiian grilled cheese sandwiches from the grill and let them rest for a minute or two before slicing in half.
  8. Serve immediately and enjoy your perfect crispy, gooey, tropical grilled cheese sandwiches!
Image of a grilled cheese sandwich with ham and pineapple slices inside, cooked to perfection on a pan or griddle. The bread is golden brown and crispy and the cheese is melted and gooey.

Variations and customization

Get ready to upgrade your regular grilled cheese sandwich with some Hawaiian flair! In this tutorial, we will explore various variations and customizations you can try to make the perfect Hawaiian grilled cheese sandwich tailored to your taste. So, let’s get started!


– Bread slices (white, wheat, sourdough, or Hawaiian sweet rolls)
– Cheese (Swiss, mozzarella, cheddar, provolone, or gouda)
– Pineapple slices (fresh or canned)
– Add-ins (ham, bacon, turkey, or tomato slices)
– Spread (butter, mayonnaise, or teriyaki sauce)
– Optional garnish (cilantro, green onions, or parsley)Choose your bread: White, wheat, and sourdough bread all work well for this sandwich. For an extra Hawaiian touch, try using Hawaiian sweet rolls as your bread base.

Select your cheese: Swiss, mozzarella, cheddar, provolone, and gouda create a delicious gooey center. Experiment with one or a combination of these cheeses. A Hawaiian twist could include using a pineapple-flavored cheese or a smoked cheese to add more depth of flavor.

Add your pineapple: Fresh pineapple will add a touch more sweetness and acidity, while canned pineapple (ensure it is well-drained) can save you time.

Mix and match add-ins: Ham is the classic choice, but feel free to experiment with bacon, turkey, or even tomato slices for additional flavor and texture. Layer your chosen add-ins on one slice of bread.

Apply your spread: Lightly spread butter or mayonnaise on the outside of the bread slices to ensure a golden, crispy surface. For an extra taste of the islands, try brushing a thin layer of teriyaki sauce on the inside of the bread for that sweet and savory flavor.

Assemble your sandwich: Place a slice of cheese on the bread, followed by your add-ins, pineapple, and finally another slice of cheese to hold everything together. Top with the second slice of bread, spread-side out.

Grill your sandwich: In a non-stick skillet or panini press, heat over medium heat. Cook your Hawaiian grilled cheese sandwich for 2-3 minutes on each side or until the bread is golden brown and cheese is melted. Adjust heat as needed to avoid burning the bread.

Optional garnish: Sprinkle some chopped cilantro, green onions, or parsley on top of your sandwich right after it comes out of the pan or press. This adds a refreshing touch and a burst of color to your delicious sandwich.

Serve and enjoy: Allow your sandwich to rest for a minute or two, then slice in half and serve. Enjoy your customized and delicious Hawaiian grilled cheese sandwich!

Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to make a Hawaiian grilled cheese sandwich. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different variations and ingredients, and most importantly, have fun while cooking!

A delicious Hawaiian grilled cheese sandwich with melted cheese and pineapple, served with green onion garnish on a white plate.

Serving and presentation

Follow these simple steps to present and serve delicious Hawaiian grilled cheese sandwiches that will leave your guests impressed.

1. Prepare your workstation: Clear your countertop and ensure you have clean plates for serving the sandwiches. You can use white or patterned plates, depending on your preference.

2. Cut the sandwiches: Once your Hawaiian grilled cheese sandwiches are cooked, let them cool slightly for a minute or two. Then, using a sharp serrated knife, cut each sandwich in half diagonally. This not only makes the sandwiches easier to eat, but it also showcases the delicious filling inside.

3. Arrange the sandwiches: Place the sandwich halves on the plates, arranging them in a fan-like shape or stacking them on top of one another. You can also turn one half to face outward, revealing the filling, for added visual appeal.

4. Side dishes: Consider serving your Hawaiian grilled cheese sandwiches with a small side dish to add variety and balance to the meal. Some side dish ideas include:

– A light and refreshing tropical fruit salad made with pineapple, mango, and papaya
– A zesty and crunchy coleslaw, which can be prepared with shredded cabbage, carrots, and a tangy dressing
– Sweet potato fries or chips for a fun and tasty twist on the classic sandwich-combo
– A simple green salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and a light vinaigrette dressing5. Garnishing: Enhance the presentation of your Hawaiian grilled cheese sandwiches with a few simple garnishes. Some ideas include:
– Skewering a cherry tomato, pineapple chunk, and folded piece of ham on top of each sandwich with a decorative toothpick
– Sprinkling chopped fresh cilantro, parsley or chives over the sandwiches for added color and flavor
– Drizzling a light balsamic glaze or sriracha sauce over the sandwiches for added taste and visual appeal6. Serve and enjoy: Finally, serve the plates of Hawaiian grilled cheese sandwiches to your guests and enjoy the delicious and memorable meal you’ve prepared together!

Remember that the presentation and serving of your Hawaiian grilled cheese sandwiches can be as creative and unique as you’d like, so feel free to experiment with different plating techniques, side dishes, and garnishes to make your meal truly special.

A photo of a delicious grilled cheese sandwich with pineapple slices and ham.

Storage and reheating

Storing Leftover Hawaiian Grilled Cheese Sandwiches:

1. Allow the sandwiches to cool down to room temperature. Do not cover or wrap them while still hot or steamy, as this can cause soggy bread and make the sandwich less appetizing.

2. Once cooled, wrap each individual sandwich tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap. You can also place them in airtight containers with lids.

3. If you plan to eat the sandwiches within the next 3 days, store the wrapped or enclosed sandwiches in the refrigerator. Place them in a single layer, if possible, to prevent the sandwich from being squished or damaged.

4. For longer storage, you may choose to freeze the sandwiches instead. Place the wrapped sandwiches in a single layer inside a freezer-safe container or storage bag. Don’t forget to label the bag with the date and type of sandwich for easy identification.

5. Hawaiian grilled cheese sandwiches can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and in the freezer for up to 1 month. However, the sooner you consume them, the better the taste and texture will be.

Reheating Leftover Hawaiian Grilled Cheese Sandwiches:

1. Remove the sandwich from the refrigerator or freezer and allow it to sit at room temperature for a few minutes, letting the chill come off the sandwich. If frozen, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for 1-2 hours.

2. Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 350°F (175°C).

3. Unwrap the sandwich from the aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Place it onto an oven-safe dish or baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

4. Reheat the sandwich in the preheated oven for about 5-10 minutes or until the cheese melts and the bread becomes crispy again. Be sure to keep an eye on it to prevent overcooking or burning.

5. Alternatively, you can reheat the sandwich on a skillet or griddle over low heat. Place the sandwich on the skillet or griddle, cover with a lid, and let it cook on low heat for 5-7 minutes, turning it halfway through. Be patient and avoid too high heat to prevent burning the bread before the cheese melts.

6. Once reheated, carefully remove the sandwich from the oven or skillet using a spatula. Allow it to cool down for a minute or two before serving.

Enjoy your reheated Hawaiian grilled cheese sandwich!

A photo of a delicious-looking grilled cheese sandwich with pieces of ham and pineapple inside.

Soon, you’ll be impressing your friends and family with your newfound Hawaiian grilled cheese sandwich-making skills. Each bite of this mouthwatering masterpiece will transport you to the warm, sandy beaches of Hawaii, and you’ll be left craving more of this incredible, island-inspired twist on the traditional grilled cheese. So, grab your ingredients and your appetite, and let’s get started on creating an unforgettable taste experience that everyone will love.

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